After an amazing 6 day trip to Arizona, I returned home on 28 June.
On 30 June, I attended a concert with my husband, V, to see the metal band, In This Moment perform at the Hard Rock Cafe in Orlando.
It was an enjoyable concert.
In This Moment’s singer Maria Brinks conveys a rather powerful stage presence that pairs incredibly well with her band’s heavy chord driven sound and passionate heavy metal lyrics. As well, Maria struck me as a consummate show-woman in that there was a theatrical and choreographic quality to her band’s show that was quite reminiscent of Lady Gaga in several ways that I hadn’t expected.
But it wasn’t until their final encore that Brinks’ message hit me in full force.
The song – ‘Whore’ – I later discovered is a song that In This Moment often performs as an encore.
Brinks’ speech that opened the song began with an intonation of John 8:7, thusly:
So when they continued asking Him, He lifted Himself up and said unto them, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”
This was followed by Brinks approaching center stage, wherein she spoke a litany of words
Stupid. Ugly. Useless. Unworthy.
(They would) call me – Whore.
I am (here to) take back the power of that word!….
(And since my device crapped out in the middle of things, here is a strikingly similar performance ^^^ from ITM’s San Francisco’s ‘Blood at the Orpheum’ in January 2014.)
Meanwhile, I stood in the audience, goosebumps rising on my skin, marveling over how Maria Brinks’ words resonated within me, as she spoke of her desire to reclaim the word, ‘whore.’**
Amidst cheers from the crowd, she continued on upon the importance of being unashamed of being who you are and what you represent.
She expressed the desire to inspire others to become secure in their sexuality, to be aware of their personal power…. and the power and freedom that is possible when we can come to be comfortable in our own skin.
Maria Brinks’ words struck me profoundly as I stood there considering how, just a few short years ago, such discussion of words like ‘whore’ would have dovetailed nicely into a ‘class’ I had taught several times concerning the inherent power of certain words to make thoughts and ideas manifest.
And how the reclaiming of certain loaded words could lead to spiritually cathartic work… in BDSM.
You see, a few short years ago – around the time when I re-discovered Loki’s presence in my life – I was teaching classes that concerned Words as Ordeal, and how words alone can create a very powerful intersection between spirituality and BDSM.
It was strangely evocative of my class on re-framing shame and transforming discomfort into spiritual energy.
Funny that I should be reminded of that particular portion of my personal history now.
** Frontwoman Maria Brink told Steppin’ Out magazine that despite its title, this is an empowering, beautiful song for women. She explained: “Everything that the word ‘whore’ means, that song rebels against. That song is sarcastic. It’s kind of about learning how to let go of the power that we let other people hold over us with their words with their belittling. Nobody can control us, nobody has the power…. kind of freeing ourselves from the vulnerable, weak parts of us.”
“When somebody calls you something demeaning or hurts you,” Brink added, “we’re the ones letting them hurt us by letting their words be that powerful. It’s about letting go. If you listen to the words: I am the dirt you created. I am your sinner. I am your whore, but let me tell you something — you love me for everything you hate me for. It’s all reverse psychology.”
Brink created the term Women Honoring One Another Rising Eternally to give new meaning away from the derogatory connotation of the “whore” word. “This is an honest and raw movement that needs to be heard,” she exclaimed. “The message behind this song is taking back control. It is about taking the power from a disgusting and degrading word and turning it back around on the accuser. It’s about self-empowerment, love, and liberation.”
Guitarist Chris Howorth added: “One of the best things about the song ‘Whore’ is all the feelings and thoughts that the word alone provokes, and that’s great, but at the end of the day, it’s just a word. The only power it really has is the power that we give it. It’s really just about taking the power back from the word…”